WNBA Salary Insights: Top 15 Highest Paid WNBA Players

Jackie Young from the Las Vegas Aces is the highest-paid WNBA player with an annual salary of $252,450. Considering the Aces have won back-to-back WNBA championships, Young has more than justified having the highest salary.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 15 highest-paid players in the WNBA, along with their achievements, as well as the overall richest WNBA players (spoiler alert: it’s Sue Bird).

1. Jackie Young – $252,450

Jackie Young - player with the highest WNBA salary
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Young won an NCAA women’s championship with Notre Dame before she joined the Las Vegas Aces as the #1 pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft. She made the WNBA All-Rookie Team in 2019, and earned the WNBA Most Improved Player in 2022 while shooting 43% from 3-point range.

Young signed a two-year contract extension with the Aces worth $504,900, which makes her the current highest-paid WNBA player.

2. Jewell Loyd – $245,508

Jewell Loyd
Image credit: Danny Karwoski/Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Seattle Storm selected Loyd with the #1 pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, and she has stuck with them ever since.

Loyd won the 2015 WNBA Rookie of the Year, and led the WNBA in scoring in 2023 by averaging a career-high 24.7 points. Loyd also won two WNBA championships with the Storm in 2018 and 2020.

She signed a two-year contract extension worth $491,016, which makes her the second-highest paid player in the WNBA in 2024.

3. Kahleah Copper – $245,059

Kahleah Copper
Image: Lorie Shaull/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

After a sensational career at Rutgers University as a wing player, the Washington Mystics selected Copper with the seventh-overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft.

After one season with the Mystics, the Chicago Sky acquired Copper in a trade. Then, after four seasons as a bench player, Copper earned a starting role in 2020 and made the most of her promotion by making her first WNBA All-Star Team. Copper led the Sky to the franchise’s first WNBA championship in 2021 and won the WNBA Finals MVP.

Copper has since been traded to the Phoenix Mercury, signing a two-year contract worth $490,118. She’s the third-highest paid player in the WNBA, which is impressive considering she was not a Top 5 draft pick coming out of college.

4. Arike Ogunbowale – $241,984

Arike Ogunbowale
Image: Lorie Shaull/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Ogunbowale, a three-time WNBA All-Star point guard with the Dallas Wings, led the WNBA in scoring in 2020 by averaging 22.8 points per game. She has since inked a three-year contract extension worth $725,952.

During her storied career at Notre Dame, Ogunbowale led the Fighting Irish to a 2018 NCAA women’s championship. She was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2018 Women’s March Madness and hit the game-winning shot in the championship game.

Ogunbowale also played several seasons overseas in Turkey and Russia.

5. Diana Taurasi – $234,936

Diana Taurasi
Image credit: Keeton Gale/Shutterstock

The Phoenix Mercury selected shooting guard Diana Taurasi with the #1 pick back in the 2004 WNBA Draft, and she’s stayed with them ever since. Taurasi’s magical run with the Mercury includes three WNBA championships, and was named to 10 WNBA All-Star teams.

No one has scored more points than Taurasi. She leads the WNBA with 10,108 career points in 529 games. In 2006, Taurasi set the league record by averaging 25.3 points per game that season.

Taurasi is in the final season of a two-year contract extension with the Mercury worth $469,872, but has made no indication that she will retire any time soon.

6. Natasha Howard – $224,675

Natasha Howard
Image credit: Lorie Shaull/Wikipedia Commons

Natasha Howard was a star forward with Florida State before the Indiana Fever selected her with the fifth pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft. Howard played for five different teams during her first ten years in the league, and she’s currently on the Dallas Wings.

She has won three championships, including one with the Minnesota Lynx in 2017, and two with the Seattle Storm in 2018 and 2020.

The versatile Howard is best known for her defense and ability to guard almost every position. In fact, she won the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

In 2021, Howard signed a four-year contract worth $898,700. She’s in the final season of her contract and will become a free agent after this season.

7. Erica Wheeler – $222,154

Erica Wheeler
Image credit: Dziurek/Shutterstock

Erica Wheeler was an undrafted point guard from Rutgers, but never gave up on her dream to play in the WNBA. Despite limited action with the New York Liberty and getting cut by the Atlanta Dream, she joined the Indiana Fever in 2017 and earned a starting role.

In 2019, she was named to the All-Star team and became the first undrafted player in WNBA history to win the MVP of the All-Star game.

After one-year stints with the Dream and Los Angeles Sparks, Wheeler returned to the Fever in 2023. She is in the final season of a two-year contract worth $444,308.

8. Brionna Jones – $212,000

Brionna Jones played collegiate ball in Maryland before the Connecticut Sun selected the center as the eighth overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft.

After languishing on the bench for three seasons, Jones got her chance to start in 2020. In 2021, she was named the WNBA Most Improved Player. As the consummate team player, Jones didn’t skip a beat when the coaching staff asked her to come off the bench in the 2022 season.

For her excellence as the top reserve in the league, Jones was named the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year.

Jones signed a one-year extension with the Sun worth $212,000, which makes her the highest-paid center in the WNBA.

9. Skylar Diggins-Smith – $211,343

Skylar Diggins-Smith
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The Tulsa Shock selected point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith as the third-overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft. She won the 2014 Most Improved Player shortly after and made her first of six All-Star teams.

After three seasons in Tulsa, the franchise relocated to Dallas. She spent six more seasons in Dallas, before sitting out the 2019 season after giving birth to her first child.

She then spent three seasons with the Phoenix Mercury, and has now signed a two-year contract with the Seatle Storm worth $422,685.

10. Alyssa Thomas – $209,000

Alyssa Thomas
Image: Lorie Shaull/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

As a star forward with the Maryland Terrapins in college, Alyssa Thomas finished her career as the school’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, and triple-doubles. The New York Liberty selected Thomas with the fourth-overall pick in 2014, but she was traded to the Connecticut Sun on draft day.

Despite serious injuries to both shoulders, Thomas averaged a career-best 15.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Sun in the 2023 season. As a defensive star, Thomas led the league in steals in 2020 and rebounds in 2023. She has earned four trips to the WNBA All-Star game, too.

Thomas signed a four-year contract extension with the Suns in 2021 worth $836,000.

11. Marina Mabrey – $206,667

Marina Mabrey
Image credit: Lorie Shaull/Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Los Angeles Sparks selected Marina Mabrey with a second-round pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft.

After finally earning a starting role with the Dallas Wings in 2022, Mabrey inked a three-year deal with the Chicago Sky worth $620,000.

In her first season with Chicago Sky, Mabry averaged a career-high 15.0 points per game.

Mabrey has also logged a lot of international air miles while playing overseas in Italy, Australia, Israel, and Latvia.

12. Kayla McBride – $206,500

Kayla McBride
Image credit: Lorie Shaull/Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

The San Antonio Stars selected shooting guard Kayla McBride with the third-overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft out of Notre Dame. She spent four seasons with the Stars before the team relocated to Las Vegas and was rebranded as the Aces.

After three years with the Aces, she joined the Minnesota Lynx. In 2024, McBride signed a two-year contract extension with the Lynx worth $413,000.

McBride also made three WNBA All-Star teams., is a three-time Europe League champion, and played overseas in Hungary, Russia, and Turkey

13. Kelsey Mitchell – $206,000

Kelsey Mitchell
Image credit: Keith Allison/Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Indiana Fever selected Kelsey Mitchell with the #2 pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft after a sensational career at Ohio State, where she was an All-American point guard and a three-time Big Ten Player of the Year.

In 2022, Mitchell inked a three-year contract extension with the Fever worth $618,000.

Mitchell earned her first trip to the All-Star team in the 2023 season, and has played overseas in Egypt and Israel as well.

14. Sabrina Ionescu – $205,030

Sabrina Ionescu
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After a dominating college career with the Oregon Ducks, the New York Liberty selected Sabrina Ionescu as the #1 pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

Ionescu was named to two All-Star teams, and won the WNBA Three-Point Shootout at the 2023 WNBA All-Star Game.

In 2023, Ionescu signed a two-year extension with the Liberty worth $410,060.

Ionescu is the only NCAA player with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds in her career. She logged 26 triple-doubles at Oregon and is the NCAA career triple-doubles leader.

15. Breanna Stewart – $205,000

Breanna Stewart
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Power forward Breanna Stewart, the former #1 pick from the 2016 WNBA Draft, is a five-time All Star and two-time champion with the Seattle Storm. She also won the WNBA Finals MVP twice and earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2016.

Stewart joined the New York Liberty in free agency in 2023, and decided to stay in the Big Apple for at least one more season. She signed a one-year extension with the Liberty, which was worth $205,000.

Stewart has earned $943,450 during her career as a WNBA player in less than a decade.

Who Are The Richest WNBA Players?

The players with the highest WNBA salaries are not necessarily the richest ovreall.

The wealthiest players in the WNBA were able to become rich through a combination of their league salary, overseas compensation from international pro teams, endorsements, and personal investments or side businesses.

Sue Bird has retired, but is the richest WNBA player in history with a net worth of over $10 million.

Although even she doesn’t come close to the richest NBA players!

1. Sue Bird – $10 Million

Sue Bird
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After spending two decades in the WNBA as a 13-time All Star, Sue Bird earned between $1.8 million and $2.4 million as a professional basketball player. The exact amount is unknown because of her unreported earnings while playing in Russia for almost a decade for Dynamo Moscow, Spartak Moscow Region, and UMMC Ekaterinburg.

Bird’s estimated net worth stems from her endorsement deals with big-time companies such as Nike, State Farm, American Express, Corona, CarMax, and Symetra.

Bird even acquired a piece of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) franchise in New York City known as NJ/NY Gotham FC.

2. Candace Parker – $8.1 Million

Candace Parker
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Parker retired after a stellar in which she won three WNBA championships and was named to seven All-Star teams.

During her 15 seasons in the WNBA, Parker banked over $1 million, though she was rumored to have earned more than that playing overseas in China, Russia, and Turkey.

During her rookie season in the WNBA, she signed endorsement deals with Adidas and Gatorade. She was also a pitchwoman for Google, Invesco, Modern Fertility, Nissan, Subway, CarMax, and 2K Sports. Parker became the first woman to be featured on the cover of the NBA 2K video game.

Since 2018, Parker has been an analyst and TV commentator for the NBA and college basketball. As an avid soccer fan, Parker also joined the ownership group for NWSL’s Angel City FC in Los Angeles. As a result, Parker is among the richest WNBA players, worth over $8.1 million according to Forbes.

3. Brittney Griner – $5 Million

Brittney Griner
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Center Brittney Griner from the Phoenix Mercury is currently ranked third on our list of the richest WNBA players. She also makes it to number four on our list of the tallest WNBA players.

Griner has earned over $1 million in WNBA career earnings as a pro, and close to $1 million per year playing in Russia for UMMC Ekaterinburg. This was before her profile took a hit after she was arrested by Russian authorities at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow for possessing cannabis vaporizers. She was eventually released from jail via a prisoner swap that made international headlines.

Griner returned to the WNBA in 2023, where she earned $165,100. Her 2024 contract is for $150,000.

In 2013, Griner made headlines as the first openly gay player to endorse Nike when she signed an endorsement deal worth over $1 million. During her career she also endorsed Beats by Dre and Boost Mobile.

4. Diana Taurasi – $3.5 Million

As you’ve seen, Taurasi is currently the player with the fifth highest salary in the WNBA.

Despite being the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, Taurasi has “only” earned $1.1 million during her career. It’s been rumored that she banked over $1 million playing in Russia however, but the details of her international contract have been hush-hush.

If her health holds up, Taurasi will try to play several more seasons, but her overall net worth is expected to rise in retirement as a popular pitchwoman for national brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, and State Farm Insurance. She earned approximately $1.35 million to endorse BodyArmor.

5. Breanna Stewart – $3 Million

Stewart earned over $943,450 in salary as a WNBA player. She inked her first shoe deal with Nike in 2016. Then, in 2021, she signed with Puma. In 2022, Puma released the first female signature sneaker called the Stewie 1 Quiet Fire.

FAQs About WNBA Player Salaries

How much do WNBA players make?

In 2023, the average WNBA salary was $147,745. In 2023, the NBA’s average salary was $10 million with a league minimum of $1.12 million per season.

It’s important to note that the NBA plays more than twice as many games as the WNBA, and that players salaries are based upon the league’s broadcast and TV rights deal, that is worth billions.

Many WNBA players often supplement their income by playing overseas. This is a huge injury risk and complete culture shock, but many pros have no choice but to play for international clubs in the offseason to earn a living. Women with lucrative endorsement deals have the luxury of resting in the offseason.

Read our article for more differences between the WNBA and NBA.

What is the starting salary in the WNBA?

Rookies in all professional leagues tend to make low wages, but the starting salary in the WNBA is embarrassing low, especially for some of the top collegiate stars entering the league.

The top four picks from the 2024 WNBA Draft (Caitlin Clark, Cameron Brink, Kamila Cardoso, and Rickea Jackson) will earn $76,535 this season. The lowest-drafted rookies will earn $64,154.

Caitlin Clark is the all-time women’s leading scorer in NCAA history, and selected by Indiana Fever as the #1 pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Despite her accolades, Clark inked a four-year contract with the Fever worth only $338,056.

In many ways, Clarke took a pay cut to fulfil her lifelong goal of playing in the WNBA. But due to her high profile, she will continue to make the bulk of her income in advertisements.

Who is the highest paid WNBA player?

The WNBA player with the highest annual salary is currently Jackie Young, earning $252,450.

What is Kelsey Plum’s salary?

Kelsey Plum’s salary is currently $200,000 playing for the Las Vegas Aces. The team has won consecutive WNBA championships, and boasts the highest-paid player in the league with Jackie Young.

What is A’ja Wilson’s salary?

Center A’ja Wilson from the Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA Finals MVP in 2023, but will only earn $200,000 in the 2024 season, after signing a two-year extension worth $400,000.

And yes, she was named after a Steely Dan song titled “Aja.” Her parents were big fans of the band and loved the name.